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EPA to effeectively halt importation of mini-truck

Discussion in 'EPA Regulations' started by Krakatoa, Oct 17, 2008.

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  1. miniman

    miniman Member

    nice thought but unfortunantley there is no silver lining to this story. The whole thing is being done to stop mini trucks from coming in, no other reason. There is no new emissions standard, or law, or guidlines. The whole thing is being done to kill the importation of mini's
  2. Rural

    Rural Member

    With all the respect in the world, I disagree. From my seat it looks like they are trying to tighten up the legislation to prevent vehicles with unknown emissions from making it into the country. If they wanted to end the kei vehicle "problem", they could just ban them outright, but that's not what they appear to be doing.

    It may be that the EPA is trying to protect US manufacturers, but it doesn't look that way to me. Besides, protecting US manufacturers has nothing to with the EPAs mandate. (Which isn't to say that US manufacturers aren't pushing the legitimate issue of kei truck emissions with the EPA to protect their interests.)

    The reason I'm taking the time to express my disagreement is that if someone talks to their representative while under the assumption that this is a conspiracy to get kei vehicles off the market, they are going to waste valuable time and do some real harm when they could point out some useful facts. For example: Japan has stringent emissions standards that these vehicles met while they were in use. So it's unlikely that a significant fraction of these vehicles have emissions problems.

    If you want some ammunition, find out exactly what Japan's emissions standards are compared to US standards. Also, get together with some importers and test a whole bunch of kei vehicles as they roll off the boat. I'm sure that almost all would pass with flying colours. Having such a study in hand would be real feather in your cap, especially if you want to create a stink with the media. The time to do this is now.

    Believing that The Powers That Be are quashing imported vehicles isn't useful, even if it is true. Instead, one should argue with the EPA on the issue that is at the core of its mandate: Environmental Protection. From this perspective, keis look pretty darn good. I mean, my Sambar weighs about one-third as much as a 2008 F-150 and sips fuel by comparison. From an environmental perspective, which should the EPA be backing?
  3. Colin

    Colin Member

    Doesn't matter which one they should be backing. They're going to side with the lobbyists from the domestic ATV industry.
  4. TRAX and HORNS

    TRAX and HORNS Well-Known Member

    If you read the rules. (Yes, a little to long and appears to repeat its self) The EPA is going after everything that is imported that has a piston that goes up and down and burns some kind of fuel. Chain saws, boat motors, cars, trucks,skid steer loaders, bull dozer, farm tractors, mini trucks and on and on. The EPA is fixing to put the hammer on the China made equipment as well that is imported here. Take a look at the China made atv's, utv's ect. that are here now. This stuff is useful for 1 yr. and throw it away. Its all junk. Aleast the Japanese mini trucks are tested anyway in Japan. Dime will get you a donut that 90% of mini trucks are going to pass USA EPA standards. I am hopeful that we will be able to deal with this. Hey, we sent someone to the the moon. When a few people to me I could not find my own buyer and import my own trucks from Japan, I said watch me. Ive been doing it for a year and a half now.
    Yea, maybe its going to cost a little bit more, there's room to take on a little more cost on the wholesale and retail side. Dont get to bent until the final print is out, sometime in the next week or two.
    Again phone your state Reps., send emails, somehow we will figure this out. These little trucks have employed people and sold many more after market atv and utv parts. This is the info. that your state Rep. needs to know, not to mention the fuel savings.
  5. Rural

    Rural Member

    Well, if that's what they are going to do, I guess there's no point in anybody from the kei community trying to influence them.
  6. jtpc

    jtpc Member

    I e-mailed my representative (who owns a mini-truck as well) and told him that the EPA might be looking into changes that will take place in Dec. I still am not sure what is truth and what is rumor/hype, but I just wanted to let him know a little of what I've read on this thread.
  7. Colin

    Colin Member

    If that's the case, we need to find a whole heap of those 303 wankels Sachs produced for Arctic Cat in the early 70s... :D
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  8. myazel

    myazel Member

    Guess we can all go eletric!
  9. steve_nagoya

    steve_nagoya Member

    Hi all,

    There are lots of very good points and opinions on this thread. If I could suggest one thing, please read the thread: http://www.minitrucktalk.com/showthread.php?t=3074

    That thread is meant to organize people to work together on this issue. Its a serious issue and lots of little voices may not make a difference, but one big voice may.

    Frankly speaking I am worried...
  10. Wolfman

    Wolfman Member

    Sorry, but I got a "not allowed" message on the link. :(
  11. steve_nagoya

    steve_nagoya Member

    Sorry about that, try looking at the General Truck Info forum.
  12. MichTrucks

    MichTrucks Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Ditto on the not allowed!
  13. canadian1

    canadian1 Member

    Trax And Horns

    Do Not Confuse State Emissions Testing To Federal (epa) Testing. They Are Not One In The Same At All. Not All States Have Emission Testing.
  14. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for the excellent post, Rural. I've been holding off posting on this thread until I could put my thoughts together but you summed it up nicely. Look people, the EPA is not populated by power-mad nut jobs despite what you might think. They are real folks like you and me. I know, I used to work for them. They are following their mandate as it is laid before them by our elected officials. Write your congress-people. :) I feel that a good case could be made for kei vehilces falling into some sort of new category between a "neighborhood" vehicle and a standard road vehicle. An opportunity not just for kei imports but for our domestic manufacturers as well.

    And so far as the EPA being "terrorists", if you like to drink water, thank the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. If you like to fish or swim or otherwise enjoy our lakes and rivers, thank the Clean Water Act of 1977. I spend a lot of time in China with my job...I've seen what life is like without someone 'minding the store' and it ain't pretty. :frustration:
  15. Cape Ape

    Cape Ape Member

    EPA Issues

    In my conversations with Mr. Stout yesterday he did indicate that the EPA was pulling together a document that would be released some time next week to "clear up misconceptions" regarding this published ruling. I am hoping for the best regarding this matter, however not holding my breath. Everytime EPA has made the threat of somehow shutting this business down they have said that they will give 60 days (pubished Oct. 8 and effective Dec 8) so that fits the pattern.

    While I don't think that all the folks at EPA are "out to get us", my dealings with them has lead me to believe that there are several high ranking officials who are. I know this first hand, and my broker, vendor, and attorney will all back me up on that. My main concern is that those of us involved in this as a business will be able to hold on while the government goes through its "refinement" process, especially in this down market.

    The time is long past for these vehicles to fall into a category for legal on-road import as Keith suggested. While we have always advocated and legally followed regulations regarding the usage of these vehicles it is easy to see why they would be useful in both an urban a rural setting.

    As a bright spot in all this, if testing is done on these trucks before import it will boost the overall quality by limiting the ability of vendors to sell junk trucks in the US. Also, it may encourage Suzuki, Mitsu, etc. to build a EPA approved motor so that new trucks may be imported (although those would likely be sold through dealer networks).
  16. miniman

    miniman Member

    I'm just saying it right now, for all those who think the EPA doesn't act unilaterally, or think that they wouldn't do something like this, or their "just doing their jobs" you are all completely out of your minds. I guarantee that by Jan 1 09, if they have their way and this goes uncontested this forum will be about how cool mini trucks used to be. The EPA is one branch of government that needs to be reigned in and put on a leash, not just because of mini's, but because they are power hungry and amlost completely out of control with regards to all industries and business in the U.S
  17. walkguru

    walkguru New Member

    i sure hope this is stoped somehow.
  18. TRAX and HORNS

    TRAX and HORNS Well-Known Member

    Cape Ape, I agree with your thoughts. For one thing it hasnt happen yet. Again my understanding from Mr. Stout is we will have to have each truck tested before shipping. Those sellers in Japan dont want to lose this gig. They will put together a cost effective way to meet U.S.A. EPA standards that wont cost a arm and a leg.
  19. Krakatoa

    Krakatoa New Member

    Just more thoughts after spending 18 hours researching

    On December 8th of this year regulations will go into effect that will make it impossible to keep importing Japanese Mini trucks, by creating an enormous financial and labor intensive burden upon myself and other in this. They are doing this by abusing their rule making authority in an underhanded and deceptive manner. They are effectively taking upon themselves to “Legislate” and deny myself and those like me any meaningful opportunity to be heard or voice our opinion.

    How have they accomplished this?

    First they proposed the rule and neglected to place anywhere in the preamble any language that would indicate that there would be any meaningful or significant changes to the regulations in regards to Large Spark Ignition nonroad engine/vehicles. They mislead the reader by stating “In addition, we are making other minor amendments to our regulations.” They buried there regulatory changes about 150 pages into the document, it took an attorney (who is quite experienced and excellent at his work) a good amount of time to find the first mentions of the changes. It is clear from the Clean Air Act and the way the regulations are written that Congress did not intend every model year vehicle to be regulated, it states in 40 CFR 1048.801

    “An imported nonroad engine that is not covered by a certificate of conformity issued under this part at the time of importation is new. This addresses uncertified engines and equipment initially placed into service that someone seeks to import into the United States. Importation of this kind of engine (or equipment containing such an engine) is generally prohibited by 40 CFR part 1068. However, the importation of such an engine is not prohibited if the engine has a model year before 2004, since it is not subject to standards.”

    So did the EPA change this part of the regulations? No, they didn’t, because they don’t have the authority to legislate and had Congress wanted every model year to be regulated than they would have said so or they would have given the EPA the discretion to do so.

    Before 73 FR 59034

    Model year means one of the following things:

    (2) For an engine that is converted to a nonroad engine after being placed into service as a motor-vehicle engine or a stationary engine, model year means the calendar year in which the engine was originally produced.

    After 73 FR 59034

    Model year means one of the following things:

    (2) For an engine that is converted to a nonroad engine after being placed into service as a motor-vehicle engine or a stationary engine, model year means the calendar year in which the engine was originally produced For a motor vehicle engine that is converted to be a nonroad engine without having been certified, model year means the calendar year in which the engine becomes a new nonroad engine.

    This may seem minor, but it makes Japanese mini-trucks the model year that they are imported. The EPA has done this with the full knowledge that Japanese Mini-Trucks do not have any prior EPA certification prior to being modified for nonroad use and importation. I am now subject to the same complex certification requirements for emission standards that a brand new never used nonroad vehicle is.

    Example – I buy a 1995 mini-truck on 12/8/2008 in Japan, and perform the required modification to import it as a nonroad vehicle; it is now a model year 2008 truck subject to EPA emission standards just as if it were brand new, not a model year 1995 truck which would not be subject to standards per the regulations.

    Since I cannot go back in time to get the required certification the EPA has decided to move time forward by creating a rule that says that when I make the required (and pre-approved modification) prior to shipping the truck in 2008 that it is now a moodel year 2008 nonroad engine/vehicle and the EPA is now able to regulate it. They have in effect legislated new law by abusing their rule making authority, because they are now acting, in the opposite of congress’s clear intent not to regulate every model year nonroad vehicle.

    What is the modification?

    It is welding a sufficiently tamper proof plate over the mini-trucks shifter so that you can only go in first gear and reverse, so that the truck will not exceed 25 mph! That alone will now change the model year!

    If you think it is going to be easy to get a mini-truck tested you better start with the fact that the standards are in 73 FR 59034 which is over 500 pages. The general provisions that is basically an outline of what you have to do is over 150 pages. Oh yes you will have to first get the year and model certified, just like a new Honda car (but to nonroad standards) and then for quality control you will have to test all of your trucks, and you will have to do this for every make model and year, and don’t forget the administrative requirements. Finally if the EPA checks your trucks to make sure they measure up and they don’t they can suspend your certificate.

    I can’t wait to see Mr. Stouts “Fact Sheet”!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2008
  20. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


    Sir; You Are 100% Correct. This Is What I Have Been Trying To Say In My Threads And It Will Cost Mega Thousands Of Dollars To Get Each Vehicle In Complaince. If You Want A True Cost Contact One Of The Very Few Licensed Importers In This Country That Is License By The Epa To Make These Conversions To Comply. This Is Why I Have Started Importing Only 25 Year Old Trucks Which Do Not Have To Comply By Federal Law. I Can Also Re-furbish The Trucks Here.
  21. dmerc

    dmerc Member

    I'd be a bit nervous to even post THAT! Better hope they don't monitor this forum!!:pop:
  22. swampfox

    swampfox Member

    Current Kei Truck owners

    I guess a good number of members of this forum already have a 658cc truck. Does anyone know of any consequences to current owners as a result of these likely EPA actions? My Sambar is a 1991 model purchased in December 2005. As far as I know, the speed limiters weren't added to the trucks before sale in 2005. At least, none of them had the limiters that I saw, and no one mentioned their existence. My truck is licensed for the road, and it's used off-road also. I hauled 25 bales of pine straw today for my wife. I could've gotten at least 10-15 more if I had wanted to. After reading this scary thread about our great little trucks, I don't know if I'd recommend anyone else buying one. You'd be less than ethical also if you tried to sell (unload) one on an unsuspecting guy or gal on the street. This problem along with our parts availability issues is continuing to drive nails down one side of the industry's coffin. I recently needed one wheel cylinder. You can't just go down to the parts store and get such a (common) thing. It has to come from British Columbia or Jackson, Missouri or somewhere. I know what I have said is not politically correct to our forum's truck lovers, but it just adds to the frustrations that you encounter while just trying to keep one of these things running.

    My son and I were looking at the Smart cars at our new Smart dealership in Mississippi. What a great looking gas-saver-$14,000. Now how could that be made into a mini Ranchero or El Camino?
  23. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


    Why? It's The D.o.t. And E.p.a.'s Own Law.
  24. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


    Excuse The Reply To Wrong Thread
  25. greg0187

    greg0187 Moderator Staff Member

    I have to agree with this.

    I had friends that wanted to purchase these trucks but they were concerned that they couldn't get parts. I said "Ah-fooey". Open mouth insert foot.:rolleyes:

  26. canadian1

    canadian1 Member


  27. steve_nagoya

    steve_nagoya Member

    The EPA regulation states that once a nonroad vehicle is used it is no longer considered new. So, it seems like you have nothing to worry about.
  28. Krakatoa

    Krakatoa New Member

    The new EPA actions are dealing with importation, if you are an individual I would not think that you have anything to worry about, its like you go out and buy a 1969 Camaro, you don't have to make the EPA happy. The EPA can't do anything about what is in the US already, they can only make it to troublesome and expensive to import them.

    As for parts, I would try www.grimports.com they are the best (though less than perfect source) I have found. I'm in Ohio and I found out about G & R from my Subaru dealer while getting my car worked on! They had a mini-truck they use for events and I was talking with the dealership owner and when we got to talking about parts he told me he tried going through Subaru Japan to get parts and they did the polite Japanese run around, so finally he just called G & R and they had what he needed!
  29. mc22958

    mc22958 New Member

    The EPA has been given the mandate to come up with and to police the emission standards of everything from the car you drive to work to the lawn mower you use on your lawn. The reason you do not see any more two stroke engines in your lawn equipment or power boats are because of these more stringent standards. Regardless of the motor being used or the application you will have to comply to these new FEDERAL standards. The problem for us is how you classify the mini trucks. If it is used then you will have to meet the EPA and DOT standards for that specific year. If we modify the truck to now become an "Off Road" vehicle it now must comply with the year it has been changed, registered, or imported. These rules are not new. If you have time check out this site, http://www.d-90.com/ look in the vehicle sales section at the first posting. This very long thread goes into the legal stuff that Land Rover owners are doing, or not, to get a non North American version into the states and getting it titled. It is interesting that these problems are effecting all sorts of companies not just those that are importing the mini trucks. My 2 Cents
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  30. dmerc

    dmerc Member

    Yes, but if they want NONE imported, they could easily change the 25 year rule to 35 years, or take it out altogether.

    Let's be honest, "they" can do whatever they want.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
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